N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 6 3

{heart} Q 8 3

{diam} K J 9 6 4

{club} J 10 4

WEST

{spade} Q 10 5 2

{heart} A 6 4

{diam} 8 2

{club} K 8 5 3

EAST

{spade} K J 9 8

{heart} 10 9 7 5

{diam} Q 7 5

{club} A 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A 7 4

{heart} K J 2

{diam} A 10 3

{club} Q 9 6 2

The bidding: South WestNorthEast1 {club} Pass1 {diam} Pass 1 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 2

Conventional wisdom has it that 1NT is the hardest contract to play. Do you agree? How would you handle today's 1NT when West leads the deuce of spades?

At the table, South won the first spade and attacked the diamonds: He cashed the ace and let the ten ride. East took his queen, and the defense cashed three spades, the ace of hearts and the A-K of clubs for down one.

South had an aberration. He can set up seven tricks with intermediates in hearts and clubs. South leads a club at the second trick, and East takes the ace and returns a spade.

The defense runs their spades -- declarer and dummy discard diamonds -- and West then takes the king of clubs and exits with a club. South wins and leads a heart, and the ace wins the defenders' sixth and last trick. South has a spade, two hearts, two clubs and two diamonds.

I think 1NT is the second-toughest contract. The toughest is 2NT. At that contract, declarer invariably has minimum values with which to work.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} Q 10 5 2 {heart} A 6 4 {diam} 8 2 {club} K 8 5 3.

Dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Your partner doubles, and the next player bids three hearts. What do you say?

Answer: Your partner has opening values or more with support for the unbid suits and suggests good support for the other major suit. The competition makes it likely he has a singleton heart. Bid three spades. You'll surely have a good chance, and if you pass, the enemy may make three hearts.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services